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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to ceiling.
There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end sections to have
workstation or desks. They will be fastened to the wall. My wife and her
family suggested I make everything out of MDF which is cheep, easy to treat
and easy to by decorative faces and mouldings for.

However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will last if
two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20 or 25 years or
hopefully 40 years?. What's the life span of MDF for this type of
application? We are in Ontario Canada so air conditioning 3 months a year
and forced air heating for 7 months a year from a humidity standpoint. Is
there plywood that is affordable and nice to prime and paint and that we can
nail some mdf moulds to? Melamine is prolly out of the question cause of
looks and it's really tough to paint ( it's a home office library, not a
kitchen)

This room will be used a lot we think.

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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

In article ,
The Henchman wrote:
Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to ceiling.
There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end sections to have
workstation or desks. They will be fastened to the wall. My wife and her
family suggested I make everything out of MDF which is cheep, easy to treat
and easy to by decorative faces and mouldings for.

However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will last if
two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20 or 25 years or
hopefully 40 years?. What's the life span of MDF for this type of
application? We are in Ontario Canada so air conditioning 3 months a year
and forced air heating for 7 months a year from a humidity standpoint. Is
there plywood that is affordable and nice to prime and paint and that we can
nail some mdf moulds to? Melamine is prolly out of the question cause of
looks and it's really tough to paint ( it's a home office library, not a
kitchen)

This room will be used a lot we think.


I made some wall-to-wall full height shelves and used birch plywood some
years ago but I finished them with watco, not paint. I used regular pine
1x12s for many of the shelves, the rest are also ply with some edge banding
that believe it or not I ripped from some old pallets. Pretty sure it's
maple. MDF is a good bit less expensive, but I'd be leary of using it
for shelves unless you keep them pretty short (like 24 or maybe 30")
or very lightly loaded, or incorporate upright supports into your design.
Longer MDF shelves will sag if fully loaded with books.

I do have a freestanding mdf bookshelf in an upstairs room with 42" shelves.
When they started to sag, I grabbed a few old oversize books nobody was
reading and crosscut them to height on the tablesaw, so that I could jam
them into the bookshelf near the center for an additional vertical support.

I wouldn't go so far as to say MDF can't be made to work, but take a look
at some 20 or 30 year old MDF furniture sometime, and very likely any
larger pieces will have some noticeable sag. I guess this would be a good
time for someone to make a joke about "the bigger they are the more they
sag with age...

--
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

Larry W wrote:

I do have a freestanding mdf bookshelf in an upstairs room with 42"
shelves. When they started to sag, I grabbed a few old oversize books
nobody was reading and crosscut them to height on the tablesaw, so
that I could jam them into the bookshelf near the center for an
additional vertical support.


Heck of a good idea. You could even tear out 50 or so pages and imbed a
wooden support.

As for finding "oversized" books, I often see free encyclopedia sets on
Craigslist.


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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

On Nov 21, 9:02*pm, "The Henchman" wrote:
Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to ceiling.
There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end sections to have
workstation or desks. *They will be fastened to the wall. * My wife and her
family suggested I make everything out of MDF which is cheep, easy to treat
and easy to by decorative faces and mouldings for.

However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will last if
two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20 or 25 years or
hopefully 40 years?. *What's the life span of MDF for this type of
application? *We are in Ontario Canada so air conditioning 3 months a year
and forced air heating for 7 months a year from a humidity standpoint. *Is
there plywood that is affordable and nice to prime and paint and that we can
nail some mdf moulds to? *Melamine is prolly out of the question cause of
looks and it's really tough to paint ( it's a home office library, not a
kitchen)

This room will be used a lot we think.


Anywhere near London? There's this luan plywood which comes as thick
as 1".
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

"The Henchman" wrote in
:

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to
ceiling. There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end
sections to have workstation or desks. They will be fastened to the
wall. My wife and her family suggested I make everything out of MDF
which is cheep, easy to treat and easy to by decorative faces and
mouldings for.

However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will
last if two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20
or 25 years or hopefully 40 years?. What's the life span of MDF for
this type of application? We are in Ontario Canada so air
conditioning 3 months a year and forced air heating for 7 months a
year from a humidity standpoint. Is there plywood that is affordable
and nice to prime and paint and that we can nail some mdf moulds to?
Melamine is prolly out of the question cause of looks and it's really
tough to paint ( it's a home office library, not a kitchen)

This room will be used a lot we think.


My primary considerations for material choice would be weight and
tendency to sag. It seems the composite materials such as MDF or plywood
have a larger tendency to sag than 1x material. In fact, we've got
several book cases built out of 1x12s that show no signs of sagging.
They're also significantly lighter than a plywood or MDF bookcase would
be.

If you still want to use MDF for the shelves, you may consider using a
plywood back. This would allow the shelves to be secured at regular
intervals from behind as well as from the sides, and will reduce the
likelyhood of sagging. You may find it's cheaper to use a piece of 1/8"
hardboard and 1/2" sheathing grade plywood rather than buying better
quality plywood just to paint it. (The hardboard is to provide a smooth
paintable surface. I don't trust its ability to hold screws.)

Puckdropper
--
Never teach your apprentice everything you know.


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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

On Nov 21, 9:02*pm, "The Henchman" wrote:
Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to ceiling.
There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end sections to have
workstation or desks. *They will be fastened to the wall. * My wife and her
family suggested I make everything out of MDF which is cheep, easy to treat
and easy to by decorative faces and mouldings for.

However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will last if
two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20 or 25 years or
hopefully 40 years?. *What's the life span of MDF for this type of
application? *We are in Ontario Canada so air conditioning 3 months a year
and forced air heating for 7 months a year from a humidity standpoint. *Is
there plywood that is affordable and nice to prime and paint and that we can
nail some mdf moulds to? *Melamine is prolly out of the question cause of
looks and it's really tough to paint ( it's a home office library, not a
kitchen)

This room will be used a lot we think.



How big is the wall?

Allen
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

On Nov 21, 6:02*pm, "The Henchman" wrote:
Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.

My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to ceiling.
...make everything out of MDF which is cheep, easy to treat
and easy to by decorative faces and mouldings for.


For shelves, MDF is terrible (it sags with moisture changes), and
plywood is second-rate. Solid wood is best.
For case sidewalls, floor-to-ceiling, solid wood is expensive and
plywood is tougher (won't split). MDF is least capable of taking
the hardware pins or brackets or whatever to support the shelves.
For a back to the case, MDF is fine.

Instead of buying decorative facings, one usually chooses an
attractive wood grain for plywood, or uses a paint treatment on
less attractive woods (maple, birch, softwood plywood are good for
painting).
A strip of solid wood on the edge of plywood is recommended for
appearance.
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

In article ,
"HeyBub" wrote:

Larry W wrote:

I do have a freestanding mdf bookshelf in an upstairs room with 42"
shelves. When they started to sag, I grabbed a few old oversize books
nobody was reading and crosscut them to height on the tablesaw, so
that I could jam them into the bookshelf near the center for an
additional vertical support.


Heck of a good idea. You could even tear out 50 or so pages and imbed a
wooden support.

As for finding "oversized" books, I often see free encyclopedia sets on
Craigslist.


If the shelves will only ever hold light Nick-Nacks than MDF might be
fine. If you are going to load them with hardback books, then MDF will
be a real problem in a year or two, you can make the shelves so they can
be taken out and turned over quarterly, and you will have less of a
problem.

I use 1 by what ever for my shelves for books. For built in Floor to
Ceiling (I have about 60 linear feet of them in the house - about 420
linear feet of shelf). I build them the following way.

1. I anchor a pair of 1x4's (for 12 inch deep shelves) at 2 foot
intervals. One at the wall and one at the front edge of my shelves (less
the depth of the kick plate). I run them floor to ceiling and anchor
them into the floor and into the ceiling (Sometimes I have run plywood
on the ceiling and floor to tie into the joists).

2. I rip a 2x6 to 2x4 for the kick plate and put it down along the
length of the front and cut pieces of 2x4 to go at the back along the
wall.

3. Then I cut the bottom shelves of 1x12 (narrower if you want less deep
shelves)

4. I then use a variety of 1x to make verticals. I stand the verticals
at each end of the bottom shelf and pin them to the 1x4's. So if I want
a 7 inch shelf - I use 1x8 to cut my verticals. For tall shelves, I use
1x12 on end.

5. I lay in the next shelf and pin it.

6. I repeat to the top of the bookcase.

7. I get moulding from the lumber yard and cover the front of the ends
of the shelves - floor to ceiling.

My shelves hold Annuals from 3 professional societies - each volume is
in the 8 to 12 pound range. They are packed solid.

In 21 years, I have not had a problem.

Hope this helps.
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.
My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to
ceiling. There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end
sections to have workstation or desks. They will be fastened to the
wall. My wife and her family suggested I make everything out of MDF
which is cheep, easy to treat and easy to by decorative faces and
mouldings for.
However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will
last if two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20
or 25 years or hopefully 40 years?. What's the life span of MDF for
this type of application? We are in Ontario Canada so air
conditioning 3 months a year and forced air heating for 7 months a
year from a humidity standpoint. Is there plywood that is affordable
and nice to prime and paint and that we can nail some mdf moulds to?


First, forget MDF as a finish material. It will sag, swell with moisture,
won't hold nails/screws, etc.

Second, factor the intended life span of this project into your "budget".
Even if you spend an extra $100 now, that's only $5/yr over the next 20
years. Less if you think it will last longer (it should if built
properly).

My choice is 3/4" birch plywood. You can find it at any home center for
around $40-50 a sheet right now. Rip it lengthwise to 11-1/4" wide
strips. You can use these strips for the sides of the cabinets, or cut
them to length for shelves.

Build a simple box, as high as you want (up to the 8 foot length of the
plywood), and a maximum of 3 feet wide. Any wider and the shelves are
likely to sag. You can build as many "boxes" as you need to span the
room. I would divide the space evenly, so each box is the same width,
though you might want to leave an inch or two on each end you can scribe
a filler to fit the wall. Or, build it close to the full width and use
trim to cover the gaps at the sides.

I would use 1/4" plywood for the back. Normally I would inset the
plywood into rabbets cut in the sides/top/bottom, but since this will
fill the wall, you could just glue and nail it to the back of each box.

Then drill a series of 1/4" holes along the insides of each cabinet for
shelf pins. There are a variety of jigs to make this easier, or you
could use a piece of pegboard as your jig.

You could make face frames out of poplar (again, relatively inexpensive
and available at all home centers), to strengthen the boxes and cover the
end grain of the plywood edges. I recommend using pocket screws to build
the face frames, as they're strong and easy to make with an inexpensive
jig (I think Lowes sells them now). Glue/nail strips of the poplar to
the front edge of each shelf also, then cut to fit inside your case.

I would choose stain and poly over paint, as I think it looks better and
will hold up better to the wear and tear of dragging books in and out.
But finish it however you wish.

If your boxes are over 5-6 feet tall, I would probably add a fixed shelf
in the middle to help keep the case from bowing in or out. Then just
have adjustable shelves top and bottom.

Good luck!

Anthony

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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

You're getting a lot of great advice already.
I'll just add in a couple things...
I'm also in the solid or plywood camp. Resist the MDF urge.
If you go with plywood, you can do 4 feet shelves if you add hardwood
facing.

These bookcases were done that way.
http://mikedrums.com/bookcases.jpg

The shelves are 3/4 ply with hardwood facing front and back. I probably
could have gotten away with just the front, but they have a lot of heavy
books and scrapbooks, so better safe than sorry. Plus, they're
reversible. :-)

Another advantage of the hardwood strips, is the look. You can put a
decorative profile on them if you choose. The added thickness, IMO,
gives the shelves better scale. These were rabbeted and glued.


--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
--Elvin Jones (1927-2004)
--
http://mikedrums.com

---remove "DOT" ^^^^ to reply



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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....


"-MIKE-" wrote in message
...
You're getting a lot of great advice already.
I'll just add in a couple things...
I'm also in the solid or plywood camp. Resist the MDF urge.
If you go with plywood, you can do 4 feet shelves if you add
hardwood facing.

These bookcases were done that way.
http://mikedrums.com/bookcases.jpg



Mike:

You're the third drummer I've met on Usenet. Though
I don't have a reason for that, after looking at your photo,
I do have a reason for saying "good job".

Regards,

EH


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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

HerHusband wrote:

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.
My wife wants my to build a wall to wall bookcase that is floor to
ceiling. There will actually be 3 sections because we want the end
sections to have workstation or desks. They will be fastened to the
wall. My wife and her family suggested I make everything out of MDF
which is cheep, easy to treat and easy to by decorative faces and
mouldings for.
However I'd like to seek opinions on how long 5/8" or 3/4" MDF will
last if two adults and two kids use this type of configuration for 20
or 25 years or hopefully 40 years?. What's the life span of MDF for
this type of application? We are in Ontario Canada so air
conditioning 3 months a year and forced air heating for 7 months a
year from a humidity standpoint. Is there plywood that is affordable
and nice to prime and paint and that we can nail some mdf moulds to?


First, forget MDF as a finish material. It will sag, swell with moisture,
won't hold nails/screws, etc.

Second, factor the intended life span of this project into your "budget".
Even if you spend an extra $100 now, that's only $5/yr over the next 20
years. Less if you think it will last longer (it should if built
properly).

My choice is 3/4" birch plywood. You can find it at any home center for
around $40-50 a sheet right now. Rip it lengthwise to 11-1/4" wide
strips. You can use these strips for the sides of the cabinets, or cut
them to length for shelves.

Build a simple box, as high as you want (up to the 8 foot length of the
plywood), and a maximum of 3 feet wide. Any wider and the shelves are
likely to sag. You can build as many "boxes" as you need to span the
room. I would divide the space evenly, so each box is the same width,
though you might want to leave an inch or two on each end you can scribe
a filler to fit the wall. Or, build it close to the full width and use
trim to cover the gaps at the sides.

I would use 1/4" plywood for the back. Normally I would inset the
plywood into rabbets cut in the sides/top/bottom, but since this will
fill the wall, you could just glue and nail it to the back of each box.

Then drill a series of 1/4" holes along the insides of each cabinet for
shelf pins. There are a variety of jigs to make this easier, or you
could use a piece of pegboard as your jig.

You could make face frames out of poplar (again, relatively inexpensive
and available at all home centers), to strengthen the boxes and cover the
end grain of the plywood edges. I recommend using pocket screws to build
the face frames, as they're strong and easy to make with an inexpensive
jig (I think Lowes sells them now). Glue/nail strips of the poplar to
the front edge of each shelf also, then cut to fit inside your case.

I would choose stain and poly over paint, as I think it looks better and
will hold up better to the wear and tear of dragging books in and out.
But finish it however you wish.

If your boxes are over 5-6 feet tall, I would probably add a fixed shelf
in the middle to help keep the case from bowing in or out. Then just
have adjustable shelves top and bottom.

Good luck!

Anthony

Sound advice! If he doesn't follow these instructions then he shouldn't
build one.
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"

Man. 2010.1 Spring
KDE4.4
2.6.33.5-desktop-2mnb
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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

On Nov 21, 9:34*pm, (Larry W) wrote:

I wouldn't go so far as to say MDF can't be made to work, but take a look
at some 20 or 30 year old MDF furniture sometime, and very likely any
larger pieces will have some noticeable sag. I guess this would be a good
time for someone to make a joke about "the bigger they are the more they
sag with age...


Laminate the shelves from 2 layers of MDF, then apply the
formica. It's the skin layers that provide resistance against
bowing, the flakeboard just holds them apart -- pretty hard to
stretch or compress formica, even harder when the layers are
twice as far apart.
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On 11/22/10 3:52 PM, Edward Hennessey wrote:
These bookcases were done that way.
http://mikedrums.com/bookcases.jpg



Mike:

You're the third drummer I've met on Usenet. Though
I don't have a reason for that, after looking at your photo,
I do have a reason for saying "good job".

Regards,

EH


Thank you.
There are a lot of musicians on usenet and at least one other drummer in
this group.
Thankfully, I'm a better drummer than woodworker. :-)


--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
--Elvin Jones (1927-2004)
--
http://mikedrums.com

---remove "DOT" ^^^^ to reply

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"The Henchman" wrote in message
...

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.


-----

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I really wanted to avoid MDF but my
wife's family were fanatical about me using it so I had to investigate why.
thanks for the firepower. I work for a fastener and cutting tools company
so I appreciate the concerns raised on fastening.

I invested $25 into Taunton's Built-Ins book for some ideas and and standard
sizes to consider.

Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable and Maple
is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right? Do all of these
have to be finely sanded before primer?




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Nahhh. Prime first, seal it up and raise the slivers, then light sand. Less
work and better finish.


"The Henchman" wrote in message
...


"The Henchman" wrote in message
...

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.


-----

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I really wanted to avoid MDF but my
wife's family were fanatical about me using it so I had to investigate why.
thanks for the firepower. I work for a fastener and cutting tools company
so I appreciate the concerns raised on fastening.

I invested $25 into Taunton's Built-Ins book for some ideas and and standard
sizes to consider.

Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable and Maple
is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right? Do all of these
have to be finely sanded before primer?




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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable and
Maple is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right? Do all
of these have to be finely sanded before primer?


Maple is stain-able but can be very splotchy. A conditioner helps give
a more even look.

Birch and other "Finnish" plywood is finish ready. (pun)
Most home store hardwood lumber is ready for paint although a quick rub
down with 180 or 220 wouldn't hurt things, and would be a good idea
before staining.


--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
--Elvin Jones (1927-2004)
--
http://mikedrums.com

---remove "DOT" ^^^^ to reply

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Default Floor to ceiling, wall to wall bookcase advice....

In article ,
says...

"The Henchman" wrote in message
...

Tight budget, and I'm a novice diy'er.


-----

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I really wanted to avoid MDF but my
wife's family were fanatical about me using it so I had to investigate why.
thanks for the firepower. I work for a fastener and cutting tools company
so I appreciate the concerns raised on fastening.

I invested $25 into Taunton's Built-Ins book for some ideas and and standard
sizes to consider.

Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable and Maple
is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right? Do all of these
have to be finely sanded before primer?


Nobody's mentioned the sagulator
http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm. If you don't want your
shelves to sag, use it. Read all the instructions.

You can make it out of solid titanium and it will still sag and fall
apart if you didn't get the structural design right.

Maple is not the best choice for stain--it tends to blotch unless you
use a pretreatement on it.

For a finish take a look at ML Campbell Magnamax precatalyzed lacquer.
Comes clear or you can get it in opaque colors. Really good stuff.

As for MDF, the only _real_ problem is has is that the edges need to be
protected or they get bunged up easily. It works fine if you understand
it. Take a look in any Scandinavian furniture store and you'll find
some rather expensive items made out of veneered MDF with solid edging..
Got a Danish bed in 1979. Other than one spot where I managed to mangle
the veneer, it still looks pretty much like it did when I got it. No
swelling, no sagging, none of the other horrible things that MDF is
supposed to do.

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"Lew Hodgett" wrote

IMHO, you will live to regret MDF.

It sags, swells if it ever gets wet, and in general, a PITA to use if
fastners are req'd.

I'd look at poplar, primed and painted white.


Second that motion!
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"dadiOH" wrote in message
...
The Henchman wrote:

Still not decided on lumber or plywood but Birch is very paintable
and Maple is very stainable correct? Lumber would be popular right?


Poplar. No "u".

Do all of these have to be finely sanded before primer?


Reasonably so. The finished paint job can be no better than the surface
to which it is applied (without MASSIVE amounts of work) so the wood
should be free of dings and the like. Use a primer that will sand
reasonably well - many don't, Zinsser 1-2-3 does - and sand IT baby butt
smooth.


I like to hit it with a couple coats of sanding sealer before painting.
You can getting it looking like lacquer.
--
Jim in NC

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Can you buy a strap of some kind to secure bookcase to wall thuspreventing toddler pulling it over? [email protected] UK diy 21 April 15th 09 04:09 PM
Attaching Bookcase to wall J.Lef Home Repair 9 July 30th 07 03:47 AM
WALL UNIT BOOKCASE J T Woodworking 0 September 14th 06 01:22 AM
Is track lighting only controlled by a wall switch and must wiringbe behind the wall/ceiling? ggg Home Ownership 5 December 5th 04 06:33 PM


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